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Guys, it's happened again. I hadn't checked my facebook all day then I logged in to discover this: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article103114177.html , http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article103155137.html Protests have erupted that went violent resulting in injured police officers after another police shooting this time in Charlotte, NC of Keith Lamont Scott which hits frighteningly close to home since I have family in that area and also use to live near by myself. With all that said I hope we can have a civil discussion in this thread about a hot button issue being faced in America right now.
Democracy is a nebulous concept and as such has been used as a label for systems as diverse as ancient Greece to the Soviet Union. So concepts of democracy range from direct local participatory democracy to liberal bourgeois democracy to democratic centralism. I would like to have a discussion of whether or not you view these conceptions as truly democratic and perhaps outline your own conception of what a democracy should look like. I have been studying Rousseau lately and the idea that democracy must exist beyond the ballot box has really resonated with me. We do live in a society where we are enslaved at all points when we are not participating in our democracy. This meshes well with the Marxist perspective that the state in liberal democracies is an instrument being used against the masses. I'll post a more complete post at a later point, I just wanted to get the ball started and get the introduction out of the way.
I was pretty surprised that for all the politically minded people we have on the forum that there was never a topic posted regarding OWS. I took a course this semester on communism and we spent a lot of time discussing OWS. You hear a lot of people in the media pushing OWS to make demands and policy prescriptions. Personally I don't think this is necessarily a wise strategy. The nature of the American political system doesn't lend itself to the types of change OWS protesters would like to see. Furthermore it is not a single thing (unless you count capitalism, which in my opinion is the problem, but that isn't the general view of OWS protesters) that the protesters want or find wrong with the country. A tenth of a percent tax on all financial transactions would help counteract the rapid transferring of money between various locations but would not solve all of the causes of future crisis and corporate malfeasance. Demands for a single thing like the above tax, or for reinstituting Glass-Steagall won't address the protesters concerns so demanding these specific things is not particularly beneficial. When I mention this point most people quickly jump to say that OWS has no purpose if it is not making political demands. I reject that and find that OWS had a major effect on domestic politics in the short term. Prior to OWS the news, our politicians and the public discourse at large, was talking about austerity. The US was on a mission to put in place the same Draconian cuts which are foundering the British economy. After and during OWS Americans were discussing income inequality for the first time in a very long time. Changing the public discourse is powerful and important for changing public policy. So what should OWS do next? Has it done anything at all, will it do anything in the future? What are people's thoughts on it? TL;DR : Discuss OWS